HC Deb 07 August 1840 vol 55 cc1394-5
Mr. W. Attwood

called the attention of the House to several petitions which had been presented on Wednesday respecting lighthouses and pilots. They complained of the charges for lights, amounting to 1l. per ton on steam vessels conducting the coasting trade of the country, and dues for pilotage, which in some instances amounted to 10l. per cent, on the receipts. He believed the President of the Board of Trade had paid considerable attention to the subject, and he hoped during the recess some measure of relief would be adopted. He would not then enter further into particulars, but move for the returns connected with the subject of which he had given notice.

Mr. A. Chapman

said, that a commission of inquiry had been instituted some years ago, and all the recommendations of the committee had been attended to, and the duties reduced as far as possible. He denied that the charge for lighting fell onerously on the vessels alluded to, and he was sure that no establishment could be better conducted than the Trinity House, to which he had the honour to belong. By their exertions in placing proper lights the voyage from Scotland was rendered secure, and the charge on steamers, whose safety Was thereby insured, was only 14s. Since the introduction of the Bude light, the insurance on steamers, which used formerly to be at the rate of 7s. per cent., was now reduced to 5s. per cent., and in some instances to 3s. 9d. The steam-boat proprietors therefore were also gainers in this way.

Mr. Labouchere

agreed in all that had fallen from the hon. Member with respect to the efficient management of the Trinity-house. He promised during the recess to direct his attention to the charges for lights but his impression was, as far as the Trinity-house lights were concerned, that the present system was equally economical and efficient. He was aware that the consideration of the present state of the pilotage laws was important to the commerce of the country, and the reason why he had not attempted to place them on a better footing was, not that he was insensible to the evils of the system, but because after the attempt made by his rt. hon. predecessor, Mr. P. Thomson, he was aware of the extreme difficulty of carrying any measure founded on general principles through Parliament, on account of the opposition stirred up by ports and other places enjoying local privileges. He would, however, during the recess, direct his attention to the subject, and endeavour to introduce next Session a bill founded on principles similar to those of the measure brought forward by Mr. P. Thompson.

Motion agreed to.